I know there’s been already a lot written on this topic of staying healthy (physically, mentally & emotionally) during this time of self-isolation/social distancing and I wanted to share what I’ve been doing to get through it.
Normally my days are very busy physically and socially as I am a personal trainer, running coach and group exercise leader for classes at our local Parks and Rec dept. As such, I usually put certain projects on the back burner and procrastinate on other things altogether (such as taxes and accounting). So when my classes were cancelled (Parks & Rec have closed until the middle of May) and clients cancelled, I thought (thinking of the positives) “Well, ok, this self-isolation time will force me to get organized, get my taxes together and tackle other projects I need to do – ‘a gift of time’, great!” So I signed up for the free first month of Netflix (a blessing and a curse) and slowly chipped away at getting paperwork organized for my accountant (thank God for that extension). But as the days slipped by, my usual busyness dwindled, I became less productive, binge watched Netflix and didn’t bother even getting out of my pajamas. I was becoming depressed and lonely. About the only healthy thing I was doing for myself was my daily morning meditation and eating healthy (lots of fruits & veggies), but otherwise I was just sad. I am usually a happy, positive, energetic person so this lasting feeling of sadness and lethargy was frustrating to me. I didn’t want to feel this way! I wanted to be motivated, energized, productive! Every day that passed where I wasn’t motivated, energized and productive just increased my depression and frustration with myself.
I turned an emotional corner when I was chatting with a friend who printed out some tax documents for me (great time for your printer to break!). I stopped by his place and we had a short (social-distanced) chat and I realized that he was the first person I had spoken to in over 3 days. I became pretty emotional, thankfully didn’t burst into tears in front of my friend, realizing how much I had missed my friends and any sort of social interaction. The next day he texted to tell me that he and 2 other friends were going for a long (SD) walk and did I want to join – hell yes! Since that day, we’ve been getting together daily for those walks and it has saved me.
As I write this, I’m still not completely done getting all of my documents to my accountant but I appreciate that I AM getting there, which is progress, no matter how slow.
I have picked up my guitar again, getting back into practice, building those callouses, extending my play-time.
I started Duolingo – Italian several months ago to prepare for a trip to Italy that was cancelled this March (talk about bad timing!) and have continued with it because I will go to Italy (next year?!) and I want to be as conversant as possible.
I mediate every morning for 20 min. It starts my day and is how I manage all the craziness that is going on and is THE key to my mental, emotional and spiritual health. It grounds me and makes everything else possible to manage in my life. My focus is to deliberately feel good, look for and find things that make me happy and to feel appreciation for what is around me and what I have.
I’ve been eating healthily and have not been drinking any alcohol. I found that if I don’t open the bottle of wine, I won’t feel compelled to drink it. Thankfully our local grocery store has been well-stocked with fruits, veggies and whatever you need to make healthy food.
I cooked big batches of healthy soups to have at night, which takes the guess-work out of “what am I going to have for dinner”. Also, broth based soups with lots of veggies are good to fill up on if you’re sedentary more than usual and don’t want to gain weight during this time.
I’ve been abstaining from alcohol of any kind, as mentioned. I don’t need the extra empty calories. Abstaining from all of the comfort foods I love too: sweets, breads, pasta, Mexican food, pizza etc. I’m not buying it, not bringing it into my home or making anything that even remotely looks like comfort food. I know myself too well.
I do not watch the news! If there’s something I want to know, I’ll go to the CDC or Washington State Dept of Health websites – that’s it! Even my friends know to not talk to me about it. I swear my mental health is the better for it.
Lastly, is exercise. SD walking with my friends most days is more than exercise to me, it is the way I stay connected and engaged, where we laugh and chat about all kinds of topics and at the end I feel nourished and revitalized. Naturally I could be doing more exercises at home (my gym is closed) as I have more than enough equipment to provide a great work out and I can go for a run. There is also a never-ending supply of any kind of workout video on YouTube; yoga, core, tai chi, pilates, you name it, it’s there. I don’t feel that I’m exercising enough, but that is a battle I am always waging within myself and every day I try to do something.
Look, I’m not perfect, by any stretch. On the whole though, I feel like I’m getting through this time pretty well.
What are you doing to get through this time in the healthiest way possible? I’d love to hear from you!
I’ve included some links to websites that I thought provided good, solid information on tips, advice, etc to best cope with this ‘gift of time’.
Get Healthy, Be Healthy, Stay Healthy!